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Margaret Dumont Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (10) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 20 October 1882Brooklyn [now in New York City], New York, USA
Date of Death 6 March 1965Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameDaisy Juliette Baker
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Margaret Dumont would probably consider it a tragedy that she is best-known for her performances as the ultimate straight woman in seven of the Marx Brothers' films (including most of their best). By all accounts she never understood their jokes (offscreen and on), which is of course a major reason why she's so funny. Apart from a small role in a 1917 Dickens adaptation, she spent her early career on the stage, ending up with the Marxes in the late 1920s in the stage versions of The Cocoanuts (1929) and Animal Crackers (1930), and was given a Paramount contract at the same time they were. She played similar roles alongside other great comedians, including W.C. Fields, Laurel & Hardy and Jack Benny and also played straight dramatic parts (her chief love), but few of them made much impact - it is as Groucho Marx's foil that she ranks among the immortals, and she died shortly after being reunited with him on The Hollywood Palace (1964).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Michael Brooke

Spouse (1)

John Moller, Jr. (1910 - 24 December 1918) (his death)

Trade Mark (1)

Best known as her roles as the haughty straight woman for the Marx Brothers.

Trivia (10)

Last appearance of any kind was on the TV show The Hollywood Palace (1964) in 1965, reprising her role as Groucho Marx's straight woman. She died just days later.
She was bald and wore wigs for several years on and off camera.
Her screen persona was that of a stolid, wealthy society matron, which is exactly what she was: her husband, John Moller, was a millionaire industrialist, and she often commuted to filming locations from her mansions in Palm Springs, California, and Paris, France.
Started on stage in 1907
She was the god-daughter of author Joel Chandler Harris.
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. Pg. 143-144. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
Groucho Marx called her "practically the fifth Marx Brother".
Offstage, she usually called Groucho Marx "Julie", which is short for Julius, Groucho's given name.
Some have argued that her image of the refined lady who did not understand The Marx Brothers' humor was an artificial one, since she had a long career being a comedic foil in comedy stage productions years before her more famous work. However, Groucho Marx himself has said on numerous occasions that she really didn't understand most of the Marx Brothers' humor.
Profiled in book "Funny Ladies" by Stephen Silverman.

Personal Quotes (2)

[on first joining the Marx Brothers act] After three weeks as a leading lady, Groucho had pushed me out of windows, pulled chairs out from under me, broiled steaks in the fireplace of my apartment, put frogs in my bathtub and made my life miserable, on the stage and off.
I'm not a stooge, I'm the best straight woman in Hollywood. There's an art to playing it straight. You must build up your man, but never top him, never steal the laughs from him.

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